top 10 movies of 2018 so far

Good job guys, we’ve made it halfway through 2018! Now there’s only six months left of this hellish year to go. But we’ll always have movies, and thank goodness this year’s movies have been more than up to the task of alternately letting us escape reality or tapping into our deepest intimate and sociopolitical anxieties.

Each day this week, a different member of Team /Film has been counting down his or her favorite films of the year so far. I’m the last to go this week and may have a few surprises on my list — which ranges from heartwarming family films, to pitch-black comedies, to meditations on life, love, and grief. So without further ado, here are my top 10 movies of 2018 so far.

Hoai-Tran Bui’s Top 10 Movies of 2018 So Far

Won't You Be My Neighbor trailer

10. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

A light went out in the world when Fred Rogers passed away, and another light goes out when the credits started rolling on Won’t You Be My Neighbor?. Morgan Neville’s lovely documentary on the beloved children’s TV show host manages to capture the wholesome tenderness of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood while peeling back the curtain on the man himself. Comprised of footage from the long-running PBS series and home video interviews taken with Rogers throughout his life, Won’t You Be My Neighbor is not just an ode to a bygone era of goodness, but a timely reminder that the world can always use a little kindness. But it’s not all rose-colored glasses either. Won’t You Be My Neighbor gives startling insight into some of the radical moves that Rogers made as the host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood by educating children on death, racism, and current events. He never shied away from getting political, which makes Won’t You Be My Neighbor feel all the more essential. Though the documentary only glosses over some of its more melancholic moments, it maintains an air of gravity and assuredness that elevates it above a run-of-the-mill hagiography.

The Death of Stalin trailer

9. The Death of Stalin

The Death of Stalin shouldn’t work. A pitch-black comedy that telegraphs the fallout of the death of tyrannical Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, Armando Iannucci‘s political satire walks a razor-thin line between absurd and brilliant that, more often than not, devolves into pure slapstick. And yet, it just worksThe Death of Stalin follows the group of Stalin’s closest confidantes who scramble for power after the dictator’s untimely and humiliating death. But while their power grabs feel more farcical than not, there is a real undercurrent of darkness and brutality. The most absurd twist of all is how current The Death of Stalin feels, even when the bumbling cronies exchange simplistic barbs for five minutes straight. This movie is, after all, loosely based on the people and events that transpired at the height of the despotic Soviet Union. But instead of being horrified at the past and its echoes in the present, Iannuci makes the ingenious point that sometimes all you can do is laugh.

Slashfilm Daily Hereditary slice

8. Hereditary

Watching Hereditary was one of the most unnerving experiences of my life. Its dread-filled atmosphere slowly builds and envelops you until you realize that there’s no escape. While horror movies are regularly an exercise in visceral sequences and gut-wrenching brutality, it’s the intimate discomfort in Hereditary that makes you physically recoil from the screen. Ari Aster‘s masterful debut feature film is the embodiment of an A24 horror film (which I wrote about soon after Hereditary‘s release): a perfectly ordinary scenario that slowly descends into a morass of existential dread and violence. But unlike some of its more cerebral predecessors, Hereditary‘s horror is almost invasive, burrowing its way under your skin until the image of Toni Collette‘s screaming face is burned in your brain. And let’s talk about Toni Collette, shall we? She gives an absolutely bonkers performance as a grieving mother grappling with the death of her mother and her daughter. Her progressively unhinged mental state paired with that iconic screaming face is what makes Hereditary destined for the horror classics shelves.

7. Tully

Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman are building their own Before series through each of their collaborations. With each new film, the screenwriter-director tap into the deep insecurities and struggles of a different period in their lives, progressively getting to a little darker, a little sadder, and a little more honest. Of all three of their collaborations (from the smart, smug Juno to the tumultuous Young Adult), Tully feels the most real. The dramedy was based off of Cody’s own struggles with postpartum depression, and because of that, feels like one of the most sincere and tender odes to motherhood that has ever hit the big screen. Tully stars Charlize Theron as a mother who begins to buckle under the weight of parenthood, as she recovers from the birth of her third child and faces a well-meaning but clueless husband (Ron Livingston). But her life makes a dramatic turn for the better when her brother (Mark Duplass) gifts her with a nighttime nanny (Mackenzie Davis), who is both part-Mary Poppins, part-fresh-faced millennial. Theron gives a powerhouse performance in this uncomfortable, raw portrait of motherhood and the sacrifices you make for it.

6. Game Night

Just when you thought there was no hope for the broad studio comedy, Game Night, with all of its visual inventiveness and madcap performances, comes barging in with a tabletop game in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other. John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein direct Game Night with an energetic verve that hits the sweet spot between comedy and action thriller. It’s perhaps the most cinematically directed comedy that we’ve seen in ages that’s not made by Edgar Wright. But you can’t have style without substance, and the sharp script and pitch-perfect cast provide more than enough of that. Rachel McAdams and Jesse Plemons in particular are standouts, with McAdams proving that she is an underrated comedy gem with every hysterical line delivery and wild dance routine to “Semi-Charmed Life.” Game Night could have easily been buried beneath its labyrinthine narrative and various subplots, but instead proves to be a raucous, rollicking ride.

Continue Reading The Best Movies of 2018 So Far >>

Pages: 1 2Next page

Cool Posts From Around the Web: